Search This Blog

Monday, March 25, 2013

I'm feeling the love!

Just wanted to thank you all for your fervent prayers in her behalf!  She was struggling, and as you can see, your prayers and support have helped her pull through!

~ Linda (Mom)

The Sisters are in her district, the Elders are two that they met during gym, they left for Taiwan today. (clockwise) the cheeser is her comp, Sis Bray, Elder Taiwan, Elder Taiwan, Sis P (?), Sis Lindsey and Sis Hogge

I have so much to be grateful for this week! 

Thank you so much for sending me little reminders of love and support. I've definitely needed it! Grant Gunnell sent me a quote saying "I never said it would be easy, but worth it." I can't remember who it's by at the moment but it is so true. The MTC is hard, a mission is hard, and hard is definitely an understatement. There is no way to describe the emotions of being on a mission. All you can say is that you definitely learn to become best friends with the Lord and literally "cry" unto him like Ether did. My relationship with my Heavenly Father has grown so much, and I feel like if I ended my mission this week, I would be okay with that. Because my testimony has grown more the past few weeks than I could have ever dreamed it would. But how exciting that this is only the beginning. If it can grow this much in 2 weeks, imagine 18 months. Wow!

I got so many letters this week! One day my district leader came in with 20 dear elders for me! Please know that anything I receive, EVER, is appreciated. I wish I could write you all back, but we have 18 months to stay in contact so I'll get to everyone eventually. I'm sorry I left you all with the feeling that I was struggling last week. I'm okay! I promise. My job is to come out here and work my hardest, then the Lord will bless me. Like I already said, it's hard work being out on a mission. I know all you returned missionaries understand that, and to hear from you and to hear you went through the same thing, is so comforting. Thank you all for sharing your wisdom with me. Every word of advice made it into my advice journal that I started this week, to look back on while I'm out and remember that I'm not going through this alone.
This week I got to play an investigator (meaning someone who the missionaries teach about the gospel...not a detective) and my companion got to teach me (this is how they practice teaching, especially since they are learning a new language). Guess who I was? Casey :) and I got an amazing letter from her that same day. I am so grateful I got to be a part of your conversion Case, you are such a great example, and I'm even more proud that you're so strong and so active. I just wanted to take a moment to tell you I love you and appreciate you. Salamat Kaayo! (Thank you very much)
I got an amazing letter from Becca too, and this may embarrass her, but I shared it with my district. This was our last week teaching our investigator. We got about 4 lessons in before we found out we were done teaching her. We were all crushed, and we all wish that we could have that last lesson just to tell her how loved she is and tell her more about the gospel. But we couldn't. We were all crushed, ** and one of the Elder's was getting down on himself, so I shared Becca's letter with him and the whole class. What an amazing little sister I have, her advice was so strong and powerful, everyone was shocked that it came from a 14 year old girl. She explained to us that we are going to touch the lives of many, but that doesn't always mean that they're gonna all get baptized. But she also expressed how okay that was. Here's what she said, "I think that when you're having a hard time, and your investigator changed their mind, or didn't get baptized before you left, you need to remember that you could have been one of the greatest blessings in their life. And if it weren't for you, meeting them at that time in their life, maybe their life would've been different." We all need to remember not to be too hard on ourselves. A quote that we have on our board is, "Do your best and the Lord will make up the rest." We need to work hard and show the Lord our love for the people around us, and the rest is in His hands. We are just his instruments in the work. Becca, thank you. You helped more than just me. You strengthened our whole district, even our teachers. Thank you for being so in-tune with the Spirit at that time and telling me that. It's exactly what we all need this past week.
I have such a big support group. I can feel all of your prayers and all of your love. I don't know how to express my gratitude enough. The extra prayers were definitely felt this week. I've got my head in the game and am working hard to keep it there. For all those planning for a mission (Jackie, Kindra, Jasmine, Karlie, Andrew, Spencer, etc.), remember to take things one day at a time. One hour at a time even. Make goals you are able to accomplish, and I promise you can make it through anything! Mission life is so much easier if don't push yourself too hard, but push yourself enough. Struggle builds strength :) So struggle!

So much happens in one week that I feel like this is all a jumbled mess. I have 4 left weeks here, which sounds like nothing to you all, but it's a big deal here. I get more excited to get out in the field every day. I heard that once we get there, we'll be speaking Waray Waray
 instead of Cebuano. So I'm learning a language that I may not ever use. Pray for me! I'm going to work hard this week to learn as much Cebuano as I can so that I will be able to learn the next language quicker. But for what it's worth, learning a language is fun. I'm enjoying it! 
I love you all! While you're praying for me, I'm praying for you too! All I need/want is pictures. Of everyone! I probably won't want much junk or anything until I'm out in the field and packages are like $70 a just send me pictures of anything!
Ayo Ayo!! (Bye)
- Sister Hogge

**speaking of the "investigator" that they were crushed not to be able to teach the MTC you invest so much time and study into teaching your "investigator" that even though it is essentially acting, you get attached to the people and feel the Spirit guide you as to what to say to help them progress...its ends up being a very positive and emotional learning experience for all involved.

Look how many friends Katie has in the MTC!!

Sister Mullen! She is heading to Thailand!

Elder Case, Katie's cousin, is going to the Czech Republic

Elder Verdoorn, going to Mexico!
Stephanie Muncy, a good friend, works at the MTC! Lucky Katie! I know that was a much needed hug!!

Katie is kind of a dork about sentimental articles of clothing...this is one of Christian's shirts that she is SO glad she brought with her! :)

Katie's companion, Sister Bray!! She is full of life and keeps the MTC interesting for Katie!
Sister Bray got to see a "dog" on the temple walk! She was so excited!
One of the sister's brother sent her this blanket with the flag of the Philippines! Not the best picture of Katie, but I thought it was pretty fun!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Kumusta Ka!

(Hello! How are you?)

So the MTC haha, is interesting. Dad and Nicole told me about how much fun it is and had so many stories to share about the good times they had. I loved that, but it made me expect too much. I'm sure I'll have those stories after I leave, I even have a few right now. But let me tell you, do not go into the MTC expecting it to be fun. Expect it to be work. I never really understood how hard a mission was going to be until last week. WOW. I've never struggled and had so many highs and lows in such a small amount of time. Every other hour is a new emotion. I think I've felt every emotion here! Nicole was right to say that you just have to make it to the first Sunday. I thought that was stupid at first. Sunday morning we had sacrament mtg and every talk made me bawl, the relief society speaker made me bawl, music and the spoken word made me bawl. I was like, "How is this better...?" But then we had a temple walk with our district. Wow I love my district. They are amazing. We all get along so well and I think they're the only thing that keeps me going. We have fun, we have spiritual moments, we struggle with the language together. We do EVERYTHING together. I'm so grateful for that.

My Kauban (companion)! Her name is Sister Bray, and she is so happy. All the time haha. I met her on a facebook group before we got in the MTC so it was awesome that we were actually companions!

I really struggled thur-sat. I didn't cry until Saturday though! That was the day I finally thought about how I was in this for the long run and it scared me. It's such a long time right now, and if I think too much, I cry :) Missing everything is hard. That is why missionaries hate free time. It's nice sometimes, but not when you have it to yourself. It's so hard. If you stay busy, you can be strong and feel the spirit, and have the gift of tongues.

We taught our first investigator on....Thursday! Haha crazy huh? We found out who she was thursday morning, had 3 hours of language study, and then taught her in Cebuano that night. Dude (we're not allowed to say that by the way...which is hard haha), but dude. I think everyone in our district just spent the time staring at her. Blank faced. We got down to business really fast. We teach her everyday except Sundays. Always in Cebuano. All I can do really good right now is pray and bear my testimony, which is really cool! Cebuano is hard, but it's really easy to pronounce all the words. I'm grateful it's letters and not characters.

I think I've been missing home so much because I hadn't heard from anyone until today. We just found out Saturday that they gave our district leader the wrong mailbox! We've all been waiting for letters!!!! So I literally just got all the dearelders and letters from everyone. I got one from Cindy Jensen (yes I'm a real missionary now! isn't it so crazy?! Name tag and all.) And she had a lot of questions that I wish I had time to answer them all. I do know that I'll be here for 5 more weeks. I leave the MTC on April 23rd (I think). So i'll just be missing Jackie. I got a huge dearelder from Aunt Vick that made me cry. Mom, did you show her my talk? I love you Aunt Vicky, and needed your advice. I love the experience you had when the Spirit just wrapped his arms around you. I've needed that so bad. I kind of experienced it on Sunday, the spirit here is just so strong it's hard not to feel it. I also learned that there isn't a MTC choir this conference, and even if there was, I wouldn't sing. I cry during every song. Missionaries sing so powerfully, that I doubt I'll ever be able to hold a note. It's such a cool experience. Mom, I already emailed you, but thank you for all your letters and emails too. It's so comforting hearing from you. Moms make everything better! Kaitlyn, I'm in the process of writing you, you and Manna.  Jackie, love the quotes, I will totally use them! I also got a letter from Laura and Dan and then Sandy Mariano, I'll be looking out for spencer this week?? Cool! I love you all!! Oh, Colton also wrote me a letter, which I'll respond to too. I have the rest of today to write so I'll try to get it done. Colton made me cry haha. He's so sweet, and I loved his advice. Write down what you feel, don't worry about getting every word that the speakers say on papers. Your feelings are more important. Thank you for that. I suggest everyone try it out, it'll mean so much more to you if you do that.

Wow, this has been a long email! I'm gonna try to send pictures but none of our camera's are working. So you might have to wait another week. Our district is awesome. The other 2 sisters in the pictures of me and my Kauban, Sister Bray, aren't in our room but they're in our district. SO sweet. I love Sister Lindsey. She just hugs me when I cry, and she has the cutest personality. We have 4 other Elders in there too. One is from Australia (Elder Muir, he's sitting right next to me). Funny guy, we love his accent! He's so sarcastic and just a fun guy to be around. Elder Call is his companion and he reminds me of Chad Campbell! So it's like I'm serving with Chad! So fun :) Elder Agavale is from Samoa and Elder Kaafi is from Tonga. NO ONE understands Elder Kaafi but we crack up whenever he talks. He always just laughs. Elder Agavale is my best friend. He's cool! The sisters in our room are in another district but I love them. Sister Bray and I are having so much fun together. Prayers work!!!! So everyone please pray. Palihog paguma.

*Katie wasn't able to get her camera to work to send us pictures, so these aren't  the ones she was talking about, but these are from one of the Elder's cameras. Hopefully she will get her camera working for next week...

The giant map! They are pointing to the Philippines, wear they will be heading after their 6 weeks at the MTC is up! The Sister in the pink is Katie's companion, Sister Bray.

This is at the temple on Sunday. Usually the missionaries all walk up there on Sundays and take pictures and sing. Its relaxing after a long hard week. Hopefully soon we'll figure out who each of these missionaries is!
The Elders from her district? I'm assuming? This is probably multiple districts though..

I love you all. I have such amazing people in my life. I NEED a picture of the Green's!!! I miss them! Send me pictures everyone!!

Oh, and I only have a half hour to email, so stick to dearelders. Those are THE best.

Ah! I have to go, but I love you. Writing this was such a relief, so know that I'm doing good! It's really hard, but I'm trying my best. Keep encouraging me!

Love, Sister Hogge


Note from the editor (aka Nicole):

Several of you have asked how you can best contact Katie so I'm sending you instructions on how to write her.  Dear Elder is best way as she gets them the same day usually and it doesn't use up her e-mail time. 
Go to, click on the drop down menu and select "Provo MTC", then see picture tutorial below:

**If you send it before 11:00 in the morning (Utah time) she'll get it the same day.  Otherwise she gets it the next day.  It's faster than e-mail and she doesn't use up her computer time reading e-mails.  Plus, she gets to keep them and read them over and over.

Thanks for your love and support.  She's really homesick right now.  That's normal, and she'll be just fine.  She made it through Sunday, and it gets better from there!  Thanks for keeping her in your prayers!

Leave a comment if you have any questions or want to pass a quick word of encouragement on to Katie. I write her daily on dearelder so I can include your note if you prefer!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Welcome...and...WRITE ME!!

Welcome family and friends!
I am assuming you are here because we have something in common...we know and love a certain girl heading to the 
Philippines Tacloban Mission

(If not, and you're just here by chance, then welcome anyway! If you stick around you will come to love her! I promise!!)

This is Nicole, Katie's older sister. Katie always looked up to me as a role model and example of the type of woman she aspires to be one day. Just kidding, she is an example to me! She will be such a wonderful missionary and I am already so proud of her! I am creating this blog for two reasons: #1 I want to keep a record of her emails home, updates and pictures for her to have when she gets home and #2 to keep you, her adoring fans, up to date with her progress! So check back weekly! I will try to keep this current!

The Beginning...
Katie entered the MTC on March 13th at 1pm...well, she was a little late as there was so much 
picture-taking and goodbye-saying to do, but she made it!
{wearing her sister's tag to get a feel for it}

She was greeted at the curb by some very excited and sweet Host Elders who gave her a minute to say her goodbyes and then grabbed her bags and escorted her to her new home for the next 6 weeks!

{a very kind Host Elder getting her bags, hugging Mama Linda goodbye, walking away!}

We have some good friends from our home ward (a couple) who are in the MTC leaving tomorrow, I believe, preparing to serve in Florida. My mom happened to send them a text telling them to watch out for our Katie and guess what?? She was sitting right next to them!!! Here are the two pictures they sent us!! It's so funny, she just left yesterday, but it feels like so much longer! I can't tell you how many times I have looked at these pictures!!

{eating lunch in the cafeteria}

{pointing to the Philippines with her companion, we think her name is Sister Bray. Katie started talking with Sister Bray on facebook before they entered the MTC when they discovered they were going to the same mission on the same day!}


Here is a simple tutorial on how to write Katie FOR FREE while she's in the MTC. Follow the steps in red. Its as easy as 1-2-3...4. Seriously, you can do it!

That is all I have for now! Hopefully we'll hear from her soon and I can post her first email on the blog!

On behalf of Katie, thanks for stopping by, and we hope you enjoyed your time here on Katie's mission blog!
Please come again soon! :)

P.s. Coming soon is the goodbye photo shoot for anyone interested! I'll post all the pictures from that last day!